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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE HEBREWS - Chapter 2 - Verse 5
Verse 5. For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection. In this verse the apostle returns to the subject which he had been discussing in Chapter 1—the superiority of the Messiah to the angels. From that subject he had been diverted, (Heb 2:1-4,) by showing them what must be the consequences of defection from Christianity, and the danger of neglecting it. Having shown that, he now proceeds with the discussion, and shows that an honour had been conferred on the Lord Jesus which had never been bestowed on the angels—to wit, the supremacy over this world. This he does by proving, from the Old Testament, that such a dominion was given to man, (Heb 2:6-8,) and that this dominion was in fact exercised by the Lord Jesus, Heb 2:9. At the same time, he meets an objection which a Jew would be likely to make. It is, that Jesus appeared to be far inferior to the angels. He was a man of a humble condition. He was poor, and despised. He had none of the external honour which was shown to Moses—the founder of the Jewish economy; none of the apparent honour which belonged to angelic beings. This implied objection he removes, by showing the reason why he became so. It was proper, since he came to redeem man, that he should be a man, and not take on himself the nature of angels; and, for the same reason, it was proper that he should be subjected to sufferings, and be made a man of sorrows, Heb 2:10-17. The remark of the apostle in the verse before us is, that God had never put the world in subjection to the angels, as he had to the Lord Jesus. They had no jurisdiction over it; they were mere ministering spirits; but the world had been put under the dominion of the Lord Jesus. The world to come. The word here rendered world oikoumenh means, properly, the inhabited or inhabitable world. See Mt 24:14; Lu 2:1; 4:5; 21:27, (Gr.;) Ac 11:28; 17:6, 31; 19:27; 24:5; Ro 10:18; Heb 1:6; Re 3:10; 12:9; 16:14
-in all which places, but one, it is rendered world. It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The proper meaning is, the world or earth considered as inhabitable—and here the jurisdiction refers to the control over man, or the dwellers on the earth. The phrase, "the world to come," occurs not unfrequently in the New Testament. Comp. Eph 2:7; 1 Co 10:11; Heb 6:5.
The same phrase, "the world to come,
—occurs often in the Jewish writings. According to Buxtorf (Lex. Ch. Talm. Rub.) it means, as some suppose, "the world which is to exist after this world is destroyed, and after the resurrection of the dead, when souls shall be again united to their bodies." By others it is supposed to mean "the days of the Messiah, when he shall reign on the earth." To me it seems to be clear that the phrase here means, the world under the Messiah— the world, age, or dispensation which was to succeed the Jewish, and which was familiarly known to them as "the world to come;" and the idea is, that that world, or age, was placed under the jurisdiction of the Christ, and not of the angels. This point the apostle proceeds to make out. See Barnes "Isa 2:2".
Whereof we speak. "Of which I am writing;" that is, of the Christian religion, or the reign of the Messiah.
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